Oct. 10, 2010 | 1:18 p.m.
NEW ON BLU-RAY: “THE EXORCIST: EXTENDED DIRECTOR’S CUT” By all accounts, director William Friedkin was a man possessed in 1973. The director had already earned a reputation as a fire-breathing perfectionist on the set of the 1971 film “The French Connection,” but he was even more intense, manipulative and volatile while making his follow-up, “The Exorcist,” the unnerving adaptation of William Peter Blatty’s hugely popular novel. Friedkin browbeat studio executives when they tried to eliminate an expensive on-location shoot in Iraq, and at one point dissatisfied with star Max von Sydow’s work, he pulled Blatty aside and told him to write the actor out of some key scenes and put him on the next plane back to Sweden. No one was safe from Friedkin’s wrath except, perhaps, little Linda Blair, the 12-year-old who giggled and slurped on milkshakes between scenes where she channeled Satan. Friedkin’s extended director’s cut of the film has just hit […]
Sept. 13, 2010 | 2:34 p.m.
GUEST ESSAY The day after Christmas 1973, “The Exorcist” was unleashed upon an unsuspecting world, and Hollywood horror films would never be viewed in quite the same way. The film is back in the spotlight with the Sept. 30 one-night release of “The Exorcist Extended Director’s Cut” at more than 450 theaters nationwide and that edition’s Oct. 5 release on Blu-ray in a special high-definition, two-disc set that also includes the original theatrical version. The movie is often called the scariest film of all time, and its influence runs far and deep. One of the devoted disciples of the William Friedkin classic is David Eick, the executive producer of “Battlestar Galactica” and “Caprica,” the acclaimed science-fiction shows that were informed by the merciless, genre-transcendent example of “The Exorcist.” “Well, you know, it’s based on a true story, right?” Those 10 words, spoken to my […]
Aug. 05, 2010 | 12:15 a.m.
The devil is in the details and, by the sound of it, Warner Home Video and the team behind the new collector’s edition of “The Exorcist” have been making a hellacious effort to get all those devilish details just right. On Oct. 5, “The Exorcist Extended Director’s Cut“ hits Blu-ray with a two-disc package with the newly remastered director’s cut as well as the theatrical cut of the shocking 1973 film that was nominated for 10 Oscars, including best picture, and won for sound and adapted screenplay. Of special interest to horror fans, this package will have three new documentaries, including previously unreleased footage from the set, including makeup tests and behind-the-scenes and special-effects sequences. I’ve just watched some of the extras and they are pretty impressive in their archival value and insight into a movie that just might be the scariest studio film in […]
Nov. 04, 2008 | 2:23 a.m.
Today’s handpicked headlines from the fanboy universe… Left-over Halloween treat: It was posted last week but I just came across a nifty photo gallery put together by Mandi Bierly, who got William Friedkin, the director “The Exorcist,” to make a list of the movies that scare him. The unlucky 13 that he came up with has the usual suspects (“Alien,” Psycho” and “Rosemary’s Baby,” all righteously scary if unsurprising) as well as some dark fare that casual movie fans won’t recognize. Here, for instance, is Freidkin’s appraisal of Kaneto Shindō’s “Onibaba,” the 1964 Japanese horror film with the title that translates to “Demon Woman”: “‘It’s a masterpiece of horror and suspense. It’s about an old woman, who has only her daughter-in-law to care for her in a remote village. She starts to see her daughter-in-law sneak out every night, and […]